Relocating with your pet to the Algarve

So you have decided to relocate with your pet to the Algarve in Portugal. Welcome! The Algarve is a great place for you and your pet to live surrounded by nature, beaches and good weather. Your cat or dog will enjoy it for sure! But there are many things you need to plan and research when relocating with your pet to the Algarve. Here is a list of things you need to consider when relocating to the Algarve with your pet. We hope that this will save you time, frustration and heartache.

relocating with your pet to the algarve

Documents and registration

In our previous article about Portuguese Animal Laws, we delved into various laws applicable to pets in Portugal. For those relocating with their pet to the Algarve, Portuguese law requires all dogs to be micro-chipped and registered with your local Junta de Freguesia (parish council). Upon registration, you will receive a certificate which you should “technically” always carry when out with your dog. This registration needs to be renewed each year, and if your pet goes missing or dies it is important to notify the authorities to avoid abandonment fines. At the moment, this law is not enforced for cats, however for their benefit you should register your cats as well. If your pet goes missing, the microchip registration is invaluable to help find your lost pet. So, when you relocate to the Algarve with your pet, make sure to register your pets as soon as possible. Your vet can also help you with this.

Vets and vaccinations

When relocating with your pet, immediately take note of a local veterinary clinic in your area of the Algarve. Make sure you are always prepared! A quick online search should come up with many results, which also include 24hr Animal hospitals. Some vets also offer emergency home visits. Vet and vaccination fees can vary considerably in the Algarve. Make sure to ask about general prices before you register at any veterinary clinic. You will also find that many expats have pets, so ask around for recommendations.

In some areas, the council will arrange for a municipal vet to hold an open clinic periodically, for free inoculations and advice. However you will need to wait in line. These open clinics are usually well advertised locally in shops and at the Junta de Freguesia.

A different environment

When relocating to the Algarve, you should also consider the effect that a new climate can have on your pet. A different environment may expose your pet to additional or new risks unknown to you.

A hot climate

The Algarve is very popular for its warm weather all year round. Summers can be so hot, that you may need to think about life style adjustments when relocating with your pet to the Algarve. When you take your dog walking, avoid the hottest part of the day and include swimming on hot days. Take your dog to one of the many dog friendly beaches in Portugal.

In addition, make sure to provide any pets (including cats and caged animals) with an ample supply of fresh water and a cool, well ventilated shelter in a shady spot. When living in the Algarve, never underestimate the power of direct sunlight. Never leave your pet unattended in a car, even in mild winter sun!

Environmental dangers in the Algarve

Relocating your pet to the Algarve will expose it to different diseases than those fount at home. Tick fever is common in Portugal so it is worth giving your dogs some extra protection. You can buy spot-on drops or collars at the vet to protect them from fleas, lice and ticks. Leishmaniasis is another serious and non curable disease that you might not have encountered in colder climates such as Northern Europe. This disease can be contracted from the bite of an infected insect known as the Sandfly. Sandflies are similar to small mosquitoes and are prevalent at dusk and dawn in areas with slow moving water. You can vaccinate your dog against Leishmaniasis with a series of three injections, followed by an annual booster (newer vaccines require just one initial shot and a yearly booster.). You should ask your vet in Portugal for advice as soon as you relocate in the Algarve with your dog.

Pet Services in the Algarve

One of your main priorities is to shop around and find a reputable pet sitter and pet related services. Whilst you are settling in the Algarve, you might need to fly back home on short notice. Consequently,  it is extremely important to sort out alternative lodging and care for your pets asap! Be proactive. Do not leave this till it becomes an emergency! Pet sitters in the Algarve also tend to be fully booked in the summer season, so make sure to think ahead.

Choosing a good Pet Sitter

Never entrust your pet in the care of a complete stranger. No matter how many good reviews a person has you need to see for yourself. When choosing a pet sitter, visit the pet boarding premises in the company of your dog. Observe your dog and how he feels about it, after all he will be staying there and not you! And, if you have a cat or exotic and caged animal you might want to find someone that does home visits to care for your pet in the comfort of their home. A professional pet sitting service will offer a calm and structured environment. A good service will revolve around the well being of your pet. A reliable pet sitting service should not be an activity that the pet sitter does on the side, just for some extra cash!

Dog Walkers

Whilst relocating and living with your pet in the Algarve, you might also be too busy to walk your dog regularly. We all know that lack of exercise, stimulation and human interaction can cause a dog to develop destructive behaviours. This is especially so for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety. So think about finding a professional dog walking service to help you cope with any busy times. If you are relocating with your puppy make sure to sort out proper puppy socialisation opportunities. At Pet Sitting Algarve we offer free sociaisation for puppies under one year to help puppies grow into better adult dogs.

In all cases, whether you are looking for pet boarding, dog walking or pet home visits, make sure to organise an introductory meeting with the person who offers the service as early as possible. In this way you can evaluate the trustworthiness of the person and see how your pet interacts with him / her. Always try out the service for a couple of days before ever entrusting your pets for longer periods of time.

A variety of pet services for puppies, adult dogs, cats and caged & exotic pets. Picture & video updates through our secure online portal powered by Dropbox!

Last but not least

Relocating with your pet to the Algarve can be quite challenging. We know this because we have been through it! If you plan to relocate with your pet to the Algarve and need a helping hand, then please reach out to us. Simply knowing that there is someone on the ground available to help can make the whole process much easier for both you and your pet! And if you have found this article to be helpful, we would really appreciate your support by sharing it with others.

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Written by:


Hi I'm Maria. I am a mechanical engineer by profession but my love for animals drew me into the life of a pet sitter, which I surely do not regret.

I write weekly blog posts about interesting articles relating to pets and I am also responsible for the Cat Home Visiting Service and Pet House Sitting Service at Pet Sitting Algarve.